Top five tips for salespeople selling cars during lockdown

Time 8:42 am, January 7, 2021

A training expert has offered his top tips for dealers faced with their third lockdown.

The advice ranges from reacting quickly to customer enquiries, sales teams giving a personalised service through to using the right ‘trail’ questions.

Symco Training founder Simon Bowkett believes as dealers head into a third national lockdown, they need to treat enquiries ‘the right way’.

‘After the first lockdown, selling to a remote customer was not hard,’ he says. ‘You didn’t have to be a genius to sell a used car last summer. It was kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

‘After the second lockdown, there wasn’t the same pent up demand that we saw in the summer. Now we are in a the third lockdown, we all know we have to treat every enquiry the right way to maximise every opportunity to ensure the first quarter results.’

Here are Bowkett’s top tips for sales teams forced to use remote selling techniques during lockdowns.

Respond quickly

While technology allowed dealers to react quickly to customer enquiries during the first lockdown, response times were actually down, says Bowkett. ‘It’s back to shooting fish in a barrel,’ he says. ‘Or that sales people are taking the low hanging fruit.’

Dealers should remember when customers enquire about a vehicle, they’ve probably already enquired with another five dealerships or more. The time is ticking as soon as the customer has sent the enquiry for a response.

Don’t cut and paste

It’s not just replying to an enquiring in a timely fashion, but it’s also the quality of the response that matters. Don’t use ‘cut and paste’ words in car descriptions and if you’re using video, personalise it to the customer rather than introducing the car in the same, scripted fashion.

Make it personal

There are seven enquires dealers’ sales teams need to be proficient in dealing with, for example: ‘Is the car still available’, ‘What’s your best price’ and ‘Can you tell me how much my car is worth?’.

Each salesperson should have a personalised set of responses, and a plan of attack on taking the enquiry to the next level. ‘If you and your team are still dealing with these enquiries with any variation of “call me”, stop and think’, says Bowkett. ‘If the customer wanted to call you, they would have called you.’

Sell yourself

Video walkarounds and demonstrations are expected now but too many salespeople are falling into the trap of just listing the car’s spec. ‘Think it through, if the customer has done nearly 20 hours of research, they probably know it got alloy wheels,’ says Bowkett.

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Salespeople should introduce themselves and give ‘face to the name’ in whatever video they create for customers, as ‘people buy people’ when it comes to purchasing a new car.

Trail close questions

Trail close questions – where you ensure the car is right for the customer before presenting the deal – are easy in face-to-face negotiations, but with a lockdown in force distance sales can make this harder.

Dealers should ask their salespeople ‘What trail close question did you ask the customer?’ and not ‘Have you trail closed’ because the salesperson will always state ‘Yes, I think they are going to go ahead with it’, says Bowkett. By finding out what question has actually been asked, dealers will get a better sense of whether the commitment question has been broached or not.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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